In April, Lawrie,
or L. J. as he was fondly called, organized another hugely entertaining
closing event for his Florida condo association. Then, amid laughter and
grateful appreciation for all he had done, he retired from the board of
directors and the putting, poker and bridge committees that he ran. At
the age of 87, he felt "his batteries were running down." And if he couldn't
give a task 150 per cent, it was time to pass the torch. It was how he
lived his life.
LIVES LIVED ~ Friday, Dec 17, 2004
Lawrence John Adams
By the Adams family
Entrepreneur, entertainer, beloved Dad and Grandpa. Born in Winnipeg,
March 7, 1917.
Died in Halifax, July 11, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, aged 87.
Even as a child growing up in Winnipeg, L. J. was a born organizer and
leader. His brother Ed tells of the penny carnivals they concocted as youngsters.
Friends and neighbours marveled at the games they created, and rewarded
them with scarce pennies, nickels and dimes.
Fiercely competitive as teenagers, they were avid sailors on Lake Winnipeg,
and after a long losing streak, they finally won the Scotch Cup. True to
their generous nature, and since the prize was a bottle of Scotch and they
were underage, they happily gave away all their winnings, much to their
L. J.'s generosity, however, was also tempered by his Scottish aversion
to needless waste or lavish spending, ingrained from experiencing the Dirty
Thirties. He once took the entire family out for a celebratory dinner to
one of Montreal's finest restaurants. Then, when the bill came, he was
astonished only at the seemingly exorbitant price of one dessert. "Who
ordered the strawberries?" he exclaimed.
He negotiated a high-school education into a great career. He distinguished
himself in the RCAF as a first-rate pilot and became a flight instructor,
then squadron leader in Dauphin, Man., during the Second World War. After
the war he joined Trans-Canada Airlines (now Air Canada) and with his outstanding
managerial talents, swiftly rose through the ranks.
In 1958, he became president of Avis Rent-A-Car Canada in Montreal,
and retired in 1978 as chairman of the board. As president of the Canadian
Tourist Association, he led its transformation into the Tourism Industry
Association of Canada.
An avid golfer and member of the Beaconsfield Golf Club in Pointe-Claire,
Que., he had four holes-in-one, on four different courses, always on the
17th hole. He was able to score his age well into his eighties.
Together with Irene, his wife of 63 years, he traveled the globe, dined
with the Queen, loved to play cards, loved to dance, loved to sing. He
loved to cook and entertain friends and family -- he had seven set menus.
His favourite book was the dictionary, and he polished off the daily crossword
in no time. To him it was proof that his brain was as sharp as ever.
But above all, his proudest achievement was his family -- his three
children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. The death of
his grandson Ben, and two near-death medical emergencies with his son Dave,
were grim reminders of what we have to be thankful for.
To his family, L. J. left the gift of caring, of choosing to be positive
and upbeat, of finding something good and working through a problem, even
in the face of the most difficult circumstances. He never regretted any
of his life's experiences. "I haven't had a good life -- I've had a magnificent
life!" he would exclaim with a trademark twinkle in his eyes.
The evening of July 11 the sky turned a particularly beautiful shade
of blue, orange, pink, indigo. Coincidentally, five Harvard aircraft flew
over Lake Ontario. Stars twinkled, fireflies danced. So long, Grandpa.
We love you.